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Daily Digest — August 26, 2015

If Jesus was walking the streets of New Orleans today I know this is where he would be.” – The Rev. Hadley Edwards on planting a new faith community in the 7th Ward.

Coming soon: ‘The Spirit Church’

NEW ORLEANS (UMNS) – Once home to three United Methodist churches, the 7th Ward has not had a United Methodist presence in 10 years. The Rev. Hadley Edwards plans to change that with the Spirit Church. Kathy L. Gilbert and Mike DuBose have the story and photos. Fourth in a series.
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Read Louisiana Conference report on 7th Ward

9th Ward church endures after Katrina

NEW ORLEANS (UMNS) – The 9th Ward has gone from the most populous ward in New Orleans to a ghost town. But Hartzell United Methodist Church endures in the ward where the levees broke. Writer Kathy L. Gilbert and photographer Mike DuBose report on the courage of the United Methodists who still live and worship here. Fifth in a series.
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Tomorrow: Betty Johnson hopes to finally be home at Thanksgiving.

Fallen firefighter's mother is United Methodist pastor

CHICAGO – Andrew Zajac, 26, one of the three firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service killed in Washington state, was the son of the Rev. Mary Zajac, senior pastor at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles, Illinois, and her husband, Jim Zajac, reports the Chicago Tribune. Andrew Zajac, Tom Zbyszewski, 20, and Richard Wheeler, 31, were killed and four others injured when flames overtook their crew last week. Wheeler was a member of First United Methodist Church in Wenatchee, Washington.
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See family’s video statement
Story on Richard Wheeler

Commentary: AME pastor salutes 2 United Methodists

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (UMNS) – The Rev. Sharon Grant, an AME pastor and church historian, sees a Wesleyan influence in Gov. Nikki Haley and state Rep. Jenny Horne of South Carolina. Both are United Methodists, and Grant lauds their work in helping remove the Confederate flag from the state Capitol grounds.
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U.S. church leaders ask Congress to support Iran pact

WASHINGTON (UMNS) – More than 50 U.S. Christian leaders distributed a letter to members of Congress Aug. 25, speaking out “for the possibility of peace” and urging them “to vote in support of the negotiated settlement over Iran's nuclear program.” United Methodist signers were Bishop Warner H. Brown, president, Council of Bishops; Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, ecumenical officer; the Rev. Stephen J. Sidorak, ecumenical staff officer; the Rev. John L. McCullough, president, Church World Service; and Jim Winkler, president, National Council of Churches. 
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Liberian president opposes Christian state plans

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a United Methodist, says efforts to declare Liberia a Christian state would create “division among the citizens based on religious belief.” Julu Swen reports.
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Indy church helps fill fresh food gap

INDIANAPOLIS – After a nearby grocery closed, the farmer’s market at North United Methodist Church provided vouchers for fresh fruit and vegetables. Laura Kennedy reports for WISH-TV.
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Georgia church rebounds from fire

ATHENS, Ga. (UMNS) – The Oconee Street United Methodist Church suffered a devastating fire in 2013, but will officially reopen its doors with a dedication ceremony on Aug. 30. Both the congregation and community have helped with the rebuilding. Chris Starrs reports for OnlineAthens.com.
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Looking ahead

Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email newsdesk@umcom.org and put Digest in the subject line.

Sunday, Aug. 30
Time of remembrance to mark 10th anniversaries of massive hurricanes – The Louisiana Conference is inviting congregations to have a time of remembrance during worship for those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which struck the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and neighboring states in August and September, 2005. The conference offers a litany of remembrance. Louisiana Area Bishop Cynthia Harvey also has a letter than can be read aloud

Tuesday, Sept. 1
Deadline to apply for the United Methodist Children's Fund for Christian Mission
— The United Methodist Children’s Fund for Christian Mission helps children learn about, and contribute to, a select group of mission projects. Each year, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries identifies four projects — two from outside of the United States and two from within the United States — for their value in helping children understand what it means to “be in mission.” In the past the fund raised $8,000-$15,000 per project. The project must be an existing program for children under 12 years of age. To apply

You can see more educational opportunities and other upcoming events in the life of the church here.